Alex wakes up, totally exhausted. He did not sleep very well. That morning, instead of adding some sugar to his coffee like he normally does, he drinks it black. He finds it keeps him awake longer. And John won’t be at school today, so he’ll have to get all the work for him, which is extra work. He leaves with Laff for school.
John is bored out of his mind. Sure, suspension means he gets to sleep in, but who knew I’d be so boring? And the fact that he’s cleaning the whole house doesn’t make things better. Sweep sweep. Dust dust. Wipe wipe. Pick up the toys. Clean the dishes.
And I swear, they purposely made the house extra dirty yesterday while I was at Laff’s, he thinks.
Although, there is an upside to this. He has more time to think about Lexi. And how he can show ‘em that he likes them without telling them.
But… what if Lexi has noticed, but is trying to ignore the signs? What if they don’t want to notice.
No, no, John, don’t be silly. Of course they wouldn’t ignore the signs! Right?
Now John is in an even worse mood. First cleaning, and now these sad thoughts. What else could possibly go wrong?
During science, Alex keeps looking at the empty desk next to him. He really misses John. School is only six hours but it feels like forever to him. Wait wait wait, why do I feel like this? I’ve gone more than a day without seeing him before, so why is this so agonizing?
A tiny voice in his head that Alex keeps trying to ignore says, Because now-
The main part of his brain finishes, Because now it’s not just because one of us is sick. He got into a fight. That’s big stuff.
And why am I thinking to myself?
Why am I thinking to myself?
Because you don’t have John to talk to!
Back at John’s house, he’s so bored that he’s dancing with the broom, pretending the broom is a person. He does a dramatic spin, but the broom slips from his hand. In slow motion, he watches as the broom falls and hits a picture on the wall. It falls and shatters into a million pieces. And one of those shards cuts the picture, which was the last picture that his family took with his grandma.
He rushes over to it and examines the picture. Thankfully, the glass didn’t cut anyone’s face; however, I did do some damage. In the picture, John was standing at the very edge of his family. The rip is between him and his family. I feel like there’s some symbolism here he thinks.
As he’s carefully making his way to the broom, the picture clutched in his hand, he steps on a shard of glass. It digs into his skin. He lets out a cry and a curse. His foot is bleeding badly. Yeah, like I don’t have enough injuries he thinks. Luckily, some of his shoes are nearby, so he uses them to get away from the glass. Once he’s in the clear zone, and gets to the first aid kit in the bathroom as fast as he can, a trail of blood behind him. Hasn’t this been a lovely day he thinks sarcastically. He totally jinxed himself when he thought what else could go wrong?
He grabs the tweezers and carefully pulls out the shard. This hurts more than the original injury, and it sends more blood gushing from the wound. He applies a wet washcloth to the injury until the bleeding slows down enough for his to apply a bandage.
John then hobbles to the broom, puts his shoes on, and starts to sweep up the glass. A few minutes later, it’s all sweeped up, and he’s trying to think of what he’s going to say to his father. First thing’s first, he’ll be honest. Lying will get him nowhere.
He’s finished cleaning the house, and his friends and family won’t be arriving for another hour. He goes upstairs and sits at his desk. He pulls out his colored pencils and starts to draw.
This is one of those pictures that will go in his private collection. He never shown the collection to anyone, and to ensure no one finds it, it’s locked in a box at the bottom of his closet.
As he’s adding the final touches, his family arrives. He sighs, shoves the drawing under his mattress for the time being, and heads downstairs. When he dad walks in after his mother and siblings, he starts to explain.
“Dad, I’m really really sorry. I was sweeping and the broom hit the picture frame and a shard of glass cut the picture with grandma, and I got a piece of glass stuck in my foot, just so you know.” He says this in one breathe.
He’s about to say more when his mother asks, “Can I see how bad it is?” John nods and hands her the picture. She examines it before handing it to her husband.
John cringes, expecting the worst. He gets the opposite. “Oh, it’s okay, John. We have other copies.”
“You-you do?” he stutters. His father nods. Then, something even more surprising happens. Henry Laurens pulls his son into a genuine hug.
After a moment of shock, John hugs back. He has to fight not to let tears fall. A knock makes him pulls away from his dad. He answers the door to find his friends waiting.
“Mon ami! How was your day off?” They all file into his house.
“Well, I had to clean the whole house, and I got a shard of glass stuck in my foot. Plus whatever homework you guys brought me.”
They head upstairs. Alex sits on the bed, Laff and Herc in the bean bags, and John in his desk chair. Alexander pulls out a stack of papers from his backpack and hands them to John. “Sorry dude, we had lots of work today. But we can help you if you want.”
When he sits back down, his leg brushes a corner of the drawing that’s sticking out. He looks down at it and asks, “What’s this?”
“Oh, it’s just the mattress tag,” John replies hurriedly.
“No, it looks like a piece of paper.”
“Don’t look at it!” John screeches, heat creeping onto his face.
Hercules pipes up, “I’m intrigued. What is it you don’t want us to see?”
“Please don’t look!” he begs.
As Alex begins to pull the drawing out from under the mattress, John dives for it. He snatches it out from under the mattress and folds it up quickly so they can’t see it. He holds it to his chest protectively.
Laff raises an eyebrow, and his expression says it all. Lafayette’s pretty sure he knows what John drew.
“Oh come on John? Is it really that bad?” Alex pries.
In a voice so quiet they could barely hear him, he murmurs, “No, it’s too good. Too…” He seems to snap back to reality and realizes he has company. He bites his lip nervously.
Herc makes puppy eyes and begs, “Please?”
“You know that doesn’t work, right?”
Hercules retorts, “It works when Alex does it.”
Lafayette is experiencing deja vu.
“Yeah, because he actually looks cute while doing it.”
Hercules looks at Laff, Laff stares at John, and John and Alex have locked eyes.
Alex tells John, “That’s so funny, because on Sunday Laff did puppy eyes to me and we had the exact same conversation, except we were talking about you.”
John grabs a pillow off his desk (why is it there he wonders) and buries his face into it.
“You alright?” Alex asks, concerned. John nods, his face still in the pillow. He looks over at Lafayette and Hercules, who are sharing a knowing smile. “Am I… missing something?”
“Oh, you’re missing everything Alex,” Lafayette says with a knowing tone. John peeks his eyes out from the pillow and glares at Laff.
“What am I missing?” Alex asks. Oh, poor Alexander. So oblivious.
“John has a crush!” Hercules says.
John throws the pillow at him, showing how red his face is from blushing. Alex gasps. “You do?” John’s face turns even more red. “You DO! Tell me who it is!”
John looks at Laff for help. He makes a gesture that means It’s all you buddy. John gulps, and he folds his arm across his body. He doesn’t say a word.
“Come on John, who is she?” Hercules barely stifles a laugh. “What, is her name funny or something?”
John takes a deep breathe and begins, “H…” His words catch in his throat. He swallows, takes a deep breathe, and continues, “Her name is Lexi.”
While Alex furrows his eyebrows, trying to think of someone with that name, Laff does a face palm. This earns another glare from John.
“Funny, I don’t remember anyone with that name.”
“Th-that’s because it’s a nickname,” John continues hurriedly. “Her real name is… um… funny thing… Alexandria.”
“Still don’t know who that is.”
John’s mom comes to the rescue without even knowing it. “Boys! Time to go home!”
“Oh, well, you guys should probably go home! Lots of work to do, like you said! Okay bye!” He stands up and ushers them out of the door. John makes a mental note to thank his mother, even if she doesn’t know why.
When they leave, he gives her a big hug. She returns it. Then he goes upstairs to start the mountain of homework that he’s got.
As Alex does his homework, he keeps thinking of John. Why didn’t he tell me about his crush? Why did he tell Laffa dn Herc, but not me. Hmmm… maybe Laff will know the answer.
He walks to his friend’s room, knocks, and enters. “Laff, why did John tell you and Herc about his crush and not me?”
He spins around to look at him. “Oh non, mon ami. He didn’t tell us; we figured out ourselves. He makes it rather obvious, actually.”
“How can he make it obvious if I’ve never met the person?”
“Oh, you’ve met them alright.” Laff grins.
“What are you implying?”
“What do you mean? I’m not implying anything. Now go back to your homework.” Alex leaves, more confused than ever. So he decides to take matters into his own hands.
He pulls up Angelica’s app and starts to look through the members. Not everyone signed up for the app, but most people did, so she’s probably be here. He checks every profile, looking for a Lexi or an Alexandria. An hour of searching brings him up empty. Where are you mystery girl? He wonders. He decides to focus on his work and worry later. Plus, tomorrow is the first day of debate club, and he has to be well researched on the subject.
John is still suspended from school today. But at least there isn’t much to clean today. He’s done in an hour, and then heads upstairs to his room. He pulls out the drawing his friends almost saw yesterday and adds the finishing touches before putting it in his safe spot.
I really hope Alex kicks Jefferson’s butt today. If they debate with one another, which they probably will.
Alex can’t wait either. He can see the smug little look on Jefferson’s face, and he can’t wait to wipe it off his stupid face. Well, he has the same face as Laff, so it’s not that stupid… but when it relates to Thomas it is.
After agonizing hours of school, the bell finally rings. Alex hands Laff and Herc John’s work for the day and tells them he’ll record the whole thing. Then he heads to Mr. Washington’s room, where the debate is being held.
After about ten minutes of people filing in, including Jefferson and Burr, Mr. Washington says, “Alright everyone!” Everybody immediately falls silent. “Thank you for coming to debate club. I am Mr. Washington and I will be your instructor. If you come to the front of the room, you will find parent permission slips that give you permission to be here. Plus, there is a fee of fifty dollars that will be turned in along with your permission slip next time we meet, which is next Wednesday and every one after that.
“Today, you will just be experiencing what this club is like. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to join. Now, everyone grab a slip.” People rush to the front of the room to grab a paper. Alexander is one of the first up there, and he starts to read it over while everyone else scrambles to get one.
“Now, the issue on the table. We will be recreating a debate between the historical Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Everyone will get a chance to debate today. But not all of our debates will be historic; most of them, in fact will be on modern subject. Now, is there anyone that would like to go first?”
Most of the people in this room know that Jefferson is a good debater, and they also know he will want to go first. Very few people know Alexander and what he is capable of. Burr knows about both, and hopes he gets to see them debate.
Jefferson and Hamilton both raise their hand immediately. “Well, looks like we have our candidates. And it’s kind of ironic, too, that these two are named after the men that debated this in the late seventeen hundreds. I assume that Jefferson wants Jefferson and Hamilton wants Hamilton, right?”
“Yes,” Thomas answers.
“Yes sir,” Alex replies.
“Alright, Thomas Jefferson, you have the floor sir.”
When Thomas shows his point of view, everyone goes “Oooh!” And most of them wonder how this kid from the Caribbean will beat him.
“Thank you Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton, you have the floor sir.” Alex smirks. The double checks that his phone is recording this before he begins.
When he’s finished, everyone gasps in shock and shouts, “OOOHHH!!”
“Excuse me!?” Mr. Washington yells. Not only was Jefferson shocked, but Mr. Washington, too. “Jefferson, take a walk. Hamilton, take a walk. While you are away, everyone will cast in their votes.”
Alex grabs his phone and stops the video on his way out. When they make it to the hallway, Thomas taunts, “You won’t get the votes. You won’t get the votes! Ha! You’re gonna need lots of approval and you don’t have the votes.”
“Oh, you’re just scared that someone two thirds your size is going to beat you. Haven’t I told you that before?”
Jefferson’s face is flaming when Mr. Washington calls, “The votes are in! Come on in boys!” They walk in. “Stand in the front of the room please.” They walk up to the front. Aaron Burr is really excited to see how this will turn out.
“Alright, the votes are in. The winner won ten to three. And that winner was…”
He pauses for suspense. “Alexander Hamilton!” A smug smile creeps onto Alex’s face as most of the people in the classroom stand up and cheer. Thomas is staring at Alexander, astounded.
On his way back to his seat, Angelica stops him. “Oh, hi Angelica! I didn’t know you were in here!”
“I just wanted to say congratulations. You’ve redefined your legacy. Jefferson really needed someone to show him who was boss.” Alex smiles, thanks her, and sits in his seat.
“Alright, now other groups will be coming up, but you can’t copy what another pair does. You can use the same information, but not the same wording.”
People go up and debate, but none of them were as in depth or heated as Thomas and Alexander’s debate.
When the class is over, Alex climbs aboard the late bus. When he gets to the stop, he walks to John’s house, where they decided to meet up. When he walks up to John’s room, they bombard him with questions.
“How did it go?” John asks.
“Did you win?” Herc asks, pretty sure he knows the answer.
“If Jefferson humiliated now?” Laff asks excitedly.
“I kicked Jefferson’s butt. And he was so humiliated! Here, watch the video.” He shows it to them.
“BURN!” Hercules shouts when the video is over.
“I know, right? And it will be even more fun when I post this video to Angelica’s app! Beeping out a few words, though. Plus, we’re doing dodgeball in PE tomorrow, so I get to throw dodgeballs at him!”
“I’m glad I’ll be there to see that,” John comments.
“Agreed,” Laff says.
“So, John,” Alex begins, “I was looking on the app yesterday and I couldn’t seem to find Lexi.”
John face begins to turn red, but not from embarrassment. “Oh, um… um… she must of… not signed up?”
“That’s what I was thinking too. So I was wondering if you could point her out tomorrow.”
“NO!” John replies a little too hurriedly. Alex raises an eyebrow while Laff and Herc stifle laughter. “Um… I can’t point her out cause… uh… she doesn’t go to this school?”
“You’re lying,” Alex says shortly.
“No-no, it’s true!” he insists as his face turns a deeper shade of red.
“John, what’s going on?” Hamilton asks. When John doesn’t answer, he turns to his other friends.They avert his gaze.
“Why aren’t you telling me?” John bites his lip in response. Alex stands up.”Friends are supposed to tell each other everything.If you can’t even tell me about a simple crush, then I guess we aren’t friends.”
“No, Alex, it’s not like that!”
“It’s not? Then tell me who she is! In other words, her real name, not some code you made up.” John bows his head. “That’s what I thought.” Alex stomps out of the room and begins his walk toward Laff’s house. As he gets closer, his anger starts to abait, replaced with sadness.
Why can’t he just tell me? He wonders sadly.
Back at John’s house, Laff and Herc are comforting their friend. “He doesn’t really mean that,” Laff soothes, holding his friend in his arms.
A single tear rolls down John’s face. “Bu-but it still hurts,” he stutters. “W-we’ve never go-gotten into a fi-fight before.” He trying his hardest to hold back his tears.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay. Laff and I fight all the time, but we’re still friends!” Herc tries to comfort.
“But you two are different. You always make up. But for this… it’s not like I could tell him! How would he react?” Another tears rolls down John’s cheek. The poor little guy.
“I don’t know, honestly,” Laff admits. “But truth is always better than a mask of lies,” he adds wisly.
John lets out a sob as an answer.
“Tell you what. How about we go watch a movie?” Herc suggests. John nods. Laff picks him up and carries him to the couch.
After flipping through John’s CDs, Herc finally finds Finding Nemo, John’s favorite movie (since it has turtles). Laff wraps John up in a blanket like a little burrito while Herc grabs popcorn. They then watch the movie.
Alex is sitting at his desk. A tear rolls down his cheek. No one is here to see him cry. John and I have never fought before, he thinks. He hand shakes, and he has to put the pencil down. He can’t do homework with a shaking hand.
He takes a shaky breath before lying down on his bed. He stares at the ceiling for hours. Literally. Two hours later, Laff knocks on the door (for once). Alex wipes away what remains of his tears, clears his throat, and says, “Come in!”
Laff peaks his head in before coming in all the way. He looks between Alex and his desk and back again. “Were you crying mon ami?” he asks quietly.
“No,” Alex answers definitely, a crack in his voice.
“Mmhmm.” He walks over to his desk and sits in Alex’s desk chair. Alexander sits up and faces Laff. After a moment of silence, Lafayette says, “You shouldn’t have been so hard on him.”
“Well, Jefferson got what he deserved.”
“You know that I’m not talking about Jefferson.” Laff and Alex stare each other down for a moment before Alex looks away and sighs.
“Yeah, I know,” he says sheepishly. “But I don’t understand why he doesn’t trust me!”
“It’s for the best.”
“It’s for the best? How could it be for the best?” Laff just stares at him blankly.
Realisation comes crashing down on Alexander. He gasps. “He likes Eliza, doesn’t he?”
“What no, I never said that-”
“You didn’t need to. Obviously, John wanted to keep that from me so he didn’t hurt my feelings! That’s why he was so secretive! That’s why he was so upset on our date! He wanted to be the one going on a date with her.”
“Wait, Alex,no, you don’t understand-”
“Oh, I understand perfectly! Lying won’t make me change my mind!” Alex dashes out of the room, making sure he grabs his phone.
“Alex, wait!” Laff shouts after him. He then chases after him.
Alexander dashes down the street to John’s house. He pounds on the door, which is answered by a flustered John.
“Alex? Is everything alright?”
Slightly out of breath, Alex says, “I figured it out.I figured out who you like.”
John’s face turns pale. “You did?” Alex nods vigorously. “Oh. Um, what do you think?”
“I think you should have told me you liked Eliza.”
John is slightly startled. “Wait, what?”
“You like Eliza!”
“Wait, Alex,no I don’t-”
“Yes you do! That’s why you were upset on our date! You wanted to be the one that took her out on a date!”
Laff comes up behind Alex, panting. “Mon ami, you can’t just run off like that!”
Alex ignores him. “John, why didn’t you just tell me?”
John just stands there, flabbergasted. He looks to Laff for help. He justs shakes his head in a way that means I have no clue dude. John looks back at Alex, still speechless.
Alex says, “Fine, if you don’t want to admit it, you don’t have to. I promise I won’t tell anyone. But just know that I know, and that I’m totally fine with you having a crush on my girlfriend.” He begins his walk back to Lafayette’s house.
Laff looks to John expectantly. “Well? Are you going to tell him or just let him believe that?”
John sighs. “I’ll figure something out.” He then shuts the door. Laff sighs, disappointed, as he makes his way back home.
He finds Alex working furiously on his homework. At least, that’s what he thinks he’s doing. When he swings the door open, Alexander immediately flips the papers over, as if he doesn’t want anyone to see it.
“Whatcha got there?” he asks.
“Nothing…” Alex says suspiciously.
“You literally just yelled at John for keeping secrets from you.”
Alex sighs and replies in French, “C’est une histoire, mais c’est privé.”
“Pouvez-vous au moins me dire quel est le sujet?” Laff asks.
Lafayette groans. “Just know that I will be looking for it later,” he promises before leaving.
Alex turns over the small pile of papers. He finishes what he’s writing before putting a blue paperclip on it. He puts in in a the hidden box under his bed. As he puts it in there, he faintly sees that the story ‘Turtle Boy’ also has a blue paperclip. He ignores this fact and slides the box back under his bed.
He then heads downstairs for dinner. Everyone is silent as they eat. Just as Alex is about to go back upstairs, Laff says, “Wait, Alex.”He stops, his foot hovering over the first step.
He turns around and asks, “Yes?”
“Is everything alright?” Lafayette asks.
The question catches Alexander off guard. “Uh, yeah. Why do you ask?”
“You just seem… off, I guess you could say.”
“I just have a lot on my mind,” he replies shortly before dashing up the stairs. When he gets to his room, he slams the door a little harder than necessary. As he sits on the edge of his bed, he begins to think.
Am I being more emotional than usual? He wonders, thinking back to the past few days. Maybe a little bit. He sighs before sitting in his desk chair and continuing on his homework.
At around nine o’clock, he is feeling more tired than usual, so he goes to bed early (well, early for him at least). He falls asleep almost instantly.